Emma Roccaforte has overcome injuries to continue to lead her team

Injuries are an unfortunate part of sports, but some athletes seem to get dealt a tougher hand than others. It’s all about how you overcome those setbacks and McNeese State’s Emma Roccaforte has cleared all of the injury hurdles placed in her path.

“2019 was filled with battles,” Roccaforte told BGN. “Two weeks into pre-season I had a pulled hamstring followed by a concussion. Later in the season, I bruised a rib and had a brachial plexus injury. While not being on the pitch, I found ways to benefit the team off the field with leadership and support.”

“However, being back in the goal is a feeling like no other. Staying healthy will be a big key for me this year, and I am doing all I can to be sure of that.”

Now that she’s injury-free, Roccaforte has started four of the seven matches to start the season and has made 21 saves to go with a 1.30 goals-against average. She explained, “It feels really great to finally be back after what seems like forever. From having an incomplete 2019 season and going through the COVID-19 pandemic, I can officially say I am back. During the long break, it was very important for me to not miss a step and stay focused for this season. This weekend I felt like all the preparation had paid off. I think my leadership and skill has really sharpened, and my body definitely missed the adrenaline of competition.”

The Cowgirls are off to a 2-4-1 start to the 2021 NCAA campaign. With five more regular season matches ahead of the Southland Conference tournament, there is plenty of time to get things turned around. “I think as a team moving forward, capitalizing on mistakes of the other team and having the grit and drive to win will help us take our game to the next step,” Roccaforte said. “Our team is full of talent and has great chemistry, but in order to be successful we need to find a way to win in tough situations, which I think we can.”

A Student Body President at Nederland High School, Roccaforte welcomes the responsibility of helping to lead the team towards improvement as a senior down the stretch this season. “I have always been told that I am a natural leader and have been in many positions to prove it,” she explained. “I enjoy setting an example for others to follow. I always try to set my self up so that others around me know what is the standard on the team and how we will reach our goals. I am definitely a leader that leads by example, and I am always willing to do the dirty work to achieve a goal.”

The next chance for Roccaforte to guide her team to victory will be on Friday afternoon when the Cowgirls host Central Arkansas. Now a senior for McNeese State, Roccaforte’s soccer journey has been a long time coming. “Growing up, soccer was always my sport,” she said. “I was involved in others, but I knew my talent was here. I was always up at forward when I was younger until I was 10, and our other goalkeeper broke her arm.”

“This is went I found my love for being in goal. I always enjoyed watching the US Women’s National Team and loved Hope Solo. I derive much of my style of play from hers.”

Emma’s also a star off the pitch at McNeese State. She’s been on the SLC Commissioner’s Honor Roll in 2017, 2018, and 2019. “My education has always been in the front of my mind,” she said. “Our coaches do a really great job in reminding us that we are students first, then athletes. I have always been one to dream big, and one of those dreams is to become a physician and work with athletes. This is what drove me to major in Biological Sciences with a concentration in Pre-Medicine. I am also getting a minor in Chemistry and Psychology, because why not!”

Carson A Merk

Reporting live from Sin City, I have covered both RGVFC and Las Vegas Lights FC since their inceptions. I also write profiles to highlight players from the NCAA to USL to NWSL and everywhere in between.